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Politics & Government

Idaho Parks And Rec Wants To Clarify Who Needs To Pay To Photograph Public Lands

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Idaho Parks and Recreation
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Bruneau Sand Dunes

Anyone taking photos or shooting video for commercial purposes at an Idaho state park is required to get a permit. But that definition isn’t so black and white.

State officials say they’re tweaking rules to let Youtubers and social media influencers take selfies and shoot vlogs without a permit in Idaho parks.

They say they only want for-profit companies to pay to shoot among the state’s forests, mountains and deserts. A permit application costs $100 and then negotiates with the company on how much Parks and Recreation will charge for a particular shoot.

But the rule doesn’t differentiate between a blogger and a business owner. It simply lumps it into one category bound by “…for the purpose of generating revenue.”

David White, who oversees the northern region for Idaho Parks and Recreation, says they’re not going to hassle online content creators.

“Even though they may make a little money off of it, we don’t have the time and effort to try to track all of that down and we’re not wanting to go talk to those people,” White says. “We only want to address those that are truly there for commercial purposes.”

And if someone breaks the rule? White says there’s no current punishment in his department’s regulations.

“If someone actually was to come in [without a permit], we would probably have to seek legal counsel and figure that out,” he says.

Assistant House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) voted for the rule change, but she wants the legislature to revisit it next year.

“It’s public and my feeling is that basically anybody should be able to take pictures in our parks at will for whatever reason,” Rubel says.

Nonprofits and the media are exempt from getting a permit under the rules.

The rule change passed overwhelmingly in the House Resources and Conservation Committee Tuesday, with Reps. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) and Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley) both voting against it.

It will go into effect automatically unless both the full House and Senate weigh in on the issue and reject it.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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